Call for all boaties to shape up


Northland boaties are being warned to get their vessels serviced before heading back on the water this summer to prevent unnecessary rescue call-outs.

Whangarei Coastguard vice-president John Haselden said most callouts were from broken-down boats caused by a lack of fuel, dirty fuel or flat batteries.

"They often occur at this time of the year when boats had been put aside for the winter and not properly laid up and also not properly serviced before they were put back into use.

"Everyone should have their boat serviced, at least once a year," Mr Haselden said.

Boaties needed to remember that fuel consumption increased when the weather turned bad, he said.

Northland Coastguard received 322 calls for assistance in the year ending June 30 - mostly from Bay of Islands (91) and the Far North (90).

There are eight Coastguard operators in the Northland area: Bay of Islands, Far North, Hokianga, North Kaipara, Tutukaka, Whangarei, Whangaroa and Whangaruru.

Nationally, in the past year Coastguard rescued 158 people and saved the lives of 50 others during Search and Rescue operations, its 2012 annual report reveals.

It also assisted 368 who would have been at risk if Coastguard had not intervened.

Forty-five people perished before Coastguard could save them and 61 others were not located.

Coastguard embarked on 3339 missions nationally in the year to June 30.

Coastguard chief executive Patrick Holmes said most Coastguard callouts were for broken down boats due to neglectful owners.

"If the engine's been sitting idle for six months and you've got dirty fuel - then to go out when you haven't done the basic maintenance on the vessel - you're asking for trouble.

"The terrible things that happened for example down in Bluff earlier this year with the Easy Rider that went down - thankfully they're the minority of our call outs. Most of them are things that are a little bit more mundane but nevertheless, if not dealt with, could equally be life-threatening."

Mr Holmes said Coastguard was a charity and its biggest challenge was sourcing funding.

The Government contributed $1.874 million towards the organisation's Search and Rescue costs for the year ended June 30, 2012.

The organisation relied on volunteers for the "vast majority" of its work.

More than 350,000 hours were donated by Coastguard's 2398 volunteers in the past year - an average of 151 hours per person. The majority - 136,000 hours - were spent on radio watch and a further 80,000 hours on training.


Water Rescues



  • 322 calls for assistance in Northland.


  • 40 calls for assistance in Whangarei.


  • 595 people assisted in Northland.


  • 110 people assisted in Whangarei.


  • 52,972 hours spent by Northland volunteers.


- Northern Advocate

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